In the pursuit of great dialogue and facilitation I was kindly invited by Arianna Huffington to watch four of her sessions in New York City in October of 2014 . The Founder and CEO of Thrive Global took the dialogues to such wonderful places that everyone in the room was engaged, interested and left wanting more. Three hours went so quickly that I was wondering how this could be a weekly event. Watching Arianna speak to University of Wisconsin – Madison Professor Richard Davidson about sleep and meditation made me realize the importance of balance in the crazy world of media, entertainment and life it self. If someone like Arianna Huffington can find balance in her life, then we should strive for the same as its all possible. The talk took a shift with conversations with the CEOs of some of the biggest corporations in the world. I was witnessing real moguls in the business of products, services, and big ideas take their commentaries around workplace balance.
A great point that was made by the President and CEO of Campbell Soup was that people should have a purpose as a person, a personal mission, but also having a purpose as a company which gives meaning to what you do and who you are in the world. Arianna’s dialogues at the event were dynamic and gave great interest to her newest work with her book Thrive. At one point she led a dialogue with New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. I am not big into politics, but what I witnessed was a dialogue with two intelligent women that were very real in what they were sharing. The dialogue was relatable and left everyone seeing a side of them that was so engaging and human.
What I loved about meeting and interviewing Arianna is that she is such a down to earth woman that takes the time to listen and ask about you and your life and work. My interactions with her and her team were one of the best experiences of my life and capturing her on my lens was a great joy. I remember sitting in the Verizon Red Room waiting for Arianna to arrive. It was a big room with a lot of people. As I started to gaze around, I saw some cast members from Saturday Night Live chatting with someone in one corner, and I could only imagine who else was in the room. As I turned my eyes I focused on the one and only Sugar Ray Leonard with an amazing smile and looking youthful as ever. I was in a bit of dreamland. Then all of a sudden Arianna came up the stairs, she had so much presence and such a wonderful demeanor. I got a chance to say hello and she welcomed me to her event. She gave me the opportunity to interview her after her event and the care her team took to get me the time away from all the fans and people wanting her attention was such a humbling experience.
Watching these world-class interactions, being a person with his journalistic lens in the mix, I was drawn to a statement by Richard Davidson that will never leave me; he said that that “happier people are healthier.” If that’s the case I choose to thrive with happiness. See the Video interview below.